Working for Smart Growth:
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Recommendations for the Next Governor

March 10th, 2017 by

At its annual Redevelopment Forum, New Jersey Future released an ambitious but pragmatic plan for how the next governor can best utilize and preserve New Jersey’s most valuable assets in order to grow a diverse and durable economy and support residents’ efforts to attain economic security. The plan, called Smart Growth Is Economic Growth, is intended to serve as a set of cost-effective recommendations for the incoming administration on how smart-growth solutions can make the state more economically vibrant and competitive.

Understanding that if the next governor is to set New Jersey back on a path to robust growth, he or she will need to address the state’s most challenging problems — high housing costs, crumbling infrastructure, a neglected transit system, the state’s increasing vulnerability to climate change, and a growing fiscal crisis. The recommendations focus on ways to streamline and coordinate both governance and investment, and to empower communities with the information, tools and incentives they need, in order to maximize growth.

“This set of recommendations has grown out of a series of conversations with a wide range of stakeholders who are invested in New Jersey’s future success,” said Anthony “Skip” Cimino of the Kaufman-Zita Group, a New Jersey Future trustee who helped guide development of the recommendations. “Focusing on these priorities will do the most to improve the state’s economic competitiveness and its fiscal stability and accountability.”

“If the next governor adopts these recommendations, it will do a lot to help our communities become more attractive and more affordable to anyone who wants to live here, and will help bring greater access for more people to more jobs,” said Lopa Kolluri of Pennrose Properties, another New Jersey trustee who also contributed to developing the platform. “More housing choices, better transportation choices, and stronger, more vibrant communities will become the power sources that we need to drive economic growth.”

The recommendations center on four key areas the next governor will need to address:

  • Investments in infrastructure, in order to modernize our transportation and water systems so they can attract and support increased economic activity;
  • Support for local redevelopment efforts, to incentivize cities and towns to make the necessary changes in order to take advantage of the economic, demographic and environmental realities of the 21st century;
  • Acknowledgement of the projected risks associated with climate change, to allow the state and its most vulnerable areas to plan intelligently to minimize them;
  • Coordination, strategic planning, and transparency at the state level, to align programs and investments behind common goals, and to report on their results.

“These recommendations are both feasible and effective,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “They strike the right balance among sometimes competing priorities in order to highlight a path forward for New Jersey, out of the economic slow growth we’ve been experiencing for the last nine years and into a period of true, accelerated ‘smart growth.’ We look forward to working with the incoming governor to help implement them.”

Download the full set of recommendations.

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